Until very recent times, books like my self-published “From Illusions to Illumination. The Itinerary of a Franciscan Priest from Catholicism to Atheism”, would have been put on the “Index of Prohibited Books”. It would have been kept under lock and key in seminaries, along with books by the Marquis of Sade and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, among others, and the faithful would have been warned that to read it would be to commit a mortal sin. Lots of books, much tamer criticisms of Catholic doctrine than mine, books by reputable Professors of Theology including some of my own in the Catholic University in Paris, France, had been “put on the Index”; often the Church forbade their authors to teach or to preach. None of them, however, I believe, can claim – as I can – a direct intervention by God, warning His children against reading Frank’s abominable book. You think I’m joking ? Read on …
Faithful, long-time readers of this Blog will remember, until fairly recently, the prolific, acerbic, combattive comments from a reader named “Jim”. At the time, I gave him free rein to criticize everything I wrote. One famous post (“The Last Post”, May 11, 2013) provoked no less than 100 comments, 46 of them from Jim, a former friend whom I knew seventy years ago in primary school, a right-wing traditionalist Catholic and a retired engineer become a committed catechist in Sydney schools. (N.B. When posts from “faithandfolly.canalblog.com” were transferred to this Blog, their comments were not – but they are still available at the old address.)
When Jim first saw the cover of my book, portraying a dark road leading to an illuminated horizon (illusions to illumination), he told me that it depicted perfectly the wide road to perdition of which Jesus had spoken and which would lead me straight to the fires of Hell. He has just sent me an e-mail pursuing privately his efforts to demolish my defence of atheism and ridicule of religion, in which he recounts what he clearly believes is divine approbation of his attacks on me and divine condemnation of my book. Judge for yourselves :
“The cover of your book : You may not believe this, or you may have an explanation of the inferior quality of the cover material, but I report what happened. About a year ago, your book had been in my shelf, undisturbed for several months, and its rear cover pressed rather tightly against a “Catholic Catechism”. When I finally attempted to withdraw it, the 2 were stuck together, and I could only separate by destroying your rear cover. Has this occurred before, or do I claim divine intervention ? I needed to soak off the remnants of your rear cover from the Catechism. Being a man of science, I conducted an experiment to check if humidity had caused the accident. I slightly dampened your front cover (showing your trip to the fiery furnace) and replaced in bookshelf, tightly pressed against the cover of the Catechism. I left for about one month, but no tendency to stick. Can you explain, or is there some higher message ? This has never happened to any other of the tightly stacked hundreds of books in my shelves. Yours was the only one of a blasphemous nature ! Hmmm ! I swear to this happening.”
So there you are then ! Another miracle, water-tight (?) proof that God agrees with Jim, His faithful servant. I pity those poor brainwashed kids in his Catechism classes !